Spirits to soar at aviation celebration | Local News Stories

• Annual Tribute to Aviation returns to airport

• Dozens of aircraft, NASA exhibits on display

• Luxury cars also making appearance

Maybe you will never fly high into the sky behind the controls of a plane, but in just about two weeks, there’s a taste of it to be had.

Montrose Regional Airport again presents the annual Tribute to Aviation. The free event is scheduled at the airport Sept. 16 -17, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day.

“We encourage families to come learn about the military and military aircraft,” Aviation Director Lloyd Arnold said. “It’s going to be a great experience for the kids and they’ll really be able to learn a lot about aviation and our military.”

That’s no exaggeration. Dozens of military, civilian, and some vintage craft are Montrose-bound for the event. Among these: the behemoth C-17; an F-18 Hornet; an MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopter, and the anti-submarine, anti-surface P-8 Poseidon.

Vintage aircraft on site include the Drummond Avenger and A-70 Corsair. Children will be able to pose in the Corsair, in flight helmets, for pictures by Dream Big Entertainment.

“We have more exhibits than we had last year. We have many more concessions,” Arnold said. “We have flight simulators and a real NASA exhibit.”

There’s not only more aircraft, but also a broader range of craft type, he said.

The event even has some ground machinery — but these are no typical cars. Precision Exotics is bringing a Lamborghini and Ferrari to the show, per Arnold.

“It’s going to be great to have a lot of the planes and helicopters we haven’t had here before,” Arnold said, adding he expects even bigger crowds this year than last, when 13,000 swelled the airport grounds for the Tribute to Aviation.

Atlantic Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator serving general aviation traffic, is a primary event sponsor, along with Republic Parking System, Corgan, the airport, Reams Construction Co., Montrose County, Western Skyways, Del-Mont Consultants Inc., Scott’s Printing and Design, CH2M, Ridgway Valley Enterprises, Cherry Creek Media and the Montrose Daily Press.

Arnold thanked all sponsors and the community for continued support that makes the event possible.

Atlantic is pleased to support the event, its general manager, Mitch Martin, said.

“We’re not only in the business to make money, but to promote aviation, especially with the impact that the Tribute to Aviation has on the local community. We are very happy to partner with the airport in promoting aviation in and around Montrose,” Martin said.

Atlantic supports the event financially, and also by providing fueling services and ground handling of the aircraft on behalf of the airport.

“The fact (is) that it’s an opportunity for the public to get up and close with aircraft that typically doesn’t come into Montrose,” Martin added.

His personal favorite are the fighters like the F-18s.

“The size of the large aircraft is very overwhelming. You just don’t see that aircraft coming in and out of Montrose,” he said.

But of course, you can during the Tribute to Aviation.

“It’s huge for this area. I know it’s the largest aviation event to happen on the Western Slope. It will be bigger and better this year,” Martin said.

Arnold also hopes for a good turnout. “I think the event continues to grow, and we try to kind of build upon what we’ve done in the past,” he said.

“It should be a fantastic event.”

Katharhynn Heidelberg is an award-winning journalist and the senior writer for the Montrose Daily Press. Follow her on Twitter at @kathMDP.


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